‘‘In My ‘Mind’s Eye’: Introspectionism, Detectivism, and the Basis of Authoritative Self-Knowledge

Synthese 191 (15) (2014)
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Abstract

It is widely accepted that knowledge of certain of one’s own mental states is authoritative in being epistemically more secure than knowledge of the mental states of others, and theories of self-knowledge have largely appealed to one or the other of two sources to explain this special epistemic status. The first, ‘detectivist’, position, appeals to an inner perception-like basis, whereas the second, ‘constitutivist’, one, appeals to the view that the special security awarded to certain self-knowledge is a conceptual matter. I argue that there is a fundamental class of cases of authoritative self-knowledge, ones in which subjects are consciously thinking about their current, conscious intentional states, that is best accounted for in terms of a theory that is, broadly speaking, introspectionist and detectivist. The position developed has an intuitive plausibility that has inspired many who work in the Cartesian tradition, and the potential to yield a single treatment of the basis of authoritative self-knowledge for both intentional states and sensation states.

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Cynthia Macdonald
University of Manchester

Citations of this work

Self-knowledge in joint acceptance accounts.Lukas Schwengerer - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology.
Extending Introspection.Lukas Schwengerer - 2021 - In Inês Hipólito, Robert William Clowes & Klaus Gärtner (eds.), The Mind-Technology Problem : Investigating Minds, Selves and 21st Century Artefacts. Springer Verlag. pp. 231-251.

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The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - London, England: Dover Publications.
The character of consciousness.David John Chalmers - 2010 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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